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Creating the world of a book in a story box

Story boxes create special opportunities to revisit children's favourite books. Children can use their box to explore characters, settings or even create their own adventure!

Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021

Here’s how you can create the world of a book in a story box in your setting or classroom.

You will need:

Rainforest in a shoe box

A Rainforest/Jungle themed shoe box by Oliver Parry


  1. Read a book which has a least one strong setting for children to imagine and visualise.
  2. After reading the book, talk about the different settings that you learn about. Where do the characters go? What do you find out?
  3. Children can work together (in pairs or groups) to agree on and design their own story box setting from the book. Giving question prompts may help them to plan and visualise. How will the box look on the outside? Will it provide a clue to the scene inside?
  4. Gather and organise a range of different materials that children might want to use.
  5. Get busy creating your story setting boxes!
  6. Give time for children to play with their story box world, re-enacting events from the book or creating new scenes or stories.

Top Tip: Why not use your small world in a shoe box for creative story writing? These little creations are great for igniting imagination and story telling.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears inspired shoe box

Bruce and the 3 Lizards story shoe box inspired by Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. By Oliver Parry

Why not create ‘themed’ small worlds in a shoe box too, or events such as The Great Fire of London to help with learning and discussions in class:

The great fire of london in a shoe box 3

The Great Fire of London in a shoe box by Oliver Parry, aged 7.

Book recommendations that we know story boxes work well with:


  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Biscuit Bear by Mini Grey

Year 1/2

  • Man on the moon (a day in the life of Bob) by Simon Bartram
  • The Great Explorer by Chris Judge

Year 3/4

  • Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister
  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

Year 5/6

  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

For more inspiration on books for story boxes please take a look at our book packs here.


With thanks to CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) for writing this blog and to Oliver Parry, age 6 for the wonderful photos of his shoe box creations.
CLPE support teachers to introduce great children’s literature in inspiring and creative ways.

Small world in a shoe box